On paper, the Cal men’s soccer team and Stanford looked pretty similar going into Sunday evening’s matchup. Both squads were swept by UCLA and San Diego State last weekend.
After Sunday’s 1-1 tie in double overtime, Cal and Stanford still looked rather similar.
After a gripping encounter that featured flowing play throughout, Cal (3-4-3, 0-2-1 in the Pac-12) and Stanford (3-6-2, 0-2-1) came away with just one goal apiece at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium in Stanford, Calif.
The win was in sight for the Bears, who held a lead for over 51 minutes after junior forward John Fitzpatrick got a head on freshman Connor Hallisey’s cross in the 26th minute.
Cal took the 1-0 scoreline into halftime, but Stanford struck back with a little less than 15 minutes left to tie it up. There was nothing that goalkeeper Robby Gogatz could do about Adam Jahn’s curling free kick from 25 yards out.
“We played well and got a goal early on,” Fitzpatrick said. “It was a little unfortunate to give away that goal and have to go into overtime.”
The 90-minute match extended into two extra overtime periods, where tired legs and bodies began to show. Nonetheless, the players’ passes were flowing more comfortably.
Despite losing their grip on the win, the Bears looked more in sync than they had in previous contests. Cal sees such a display of team chemistry as a positive and reassuring sign for its upcoming fixtures in the Pac-12 conference.
“It was a great performance by the team,” Cal coach Kevin Grimes said. “We need to continue to build on games like tonight.”
Grimes largely went with the same lineup he has been using of late in order to really forge that team rapport on the field. The only shuffle has been in the net with Gogatz and redshirt freshmen goalkeeper Kevin Peach.
After starting the first six games of the season, the sophomore was reinstated in his position. Gogatz only had to face three on-target shots from Stanford, though the Cardinal took a total of 19. The Bears’ attack was more accurate, Cal peppered in 22 shots — 6 on frame — against Stanford shotstopper Jason Dodson.
But with just one shot, Stanford forced the Bears into their fourth overtime game of the year. It’s something Cal is certainly familiar with as last year’s team reached the double digits for overtime matches.
With the tie, the Bears continue to hold a slight edge in the head-to-head record with 21 wins to Stanford’s 20 wins. And they still maintain their unbeaten streak from 2007 against the Cardinal, which now stands at seven games.
Cal is scheduled to meet their foes once again for the regular-season finale in November – this time at home at Edwards Stadium.
“Who knows if it will go into overtime again,” Fitzpatrick said.